Album Review
Farewell - Run It Up the Flagpole Album Cover

Farewell - Run It Up the Flagpole

Reviewed by
Farewell - Run It Up the Flagpole
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Growing up in the suburbs, the latter part of the 90's gave birth to a healthy dose of bands who were provided with soapboxes to articulate everything my friends and I wanted to say, but didn't have the means to. Girls not diggin' our Stussy shirts, authority always pickin' on us when we went to the mall, trends always draggin' us down because we weren't like everyone else... these guys sang about that stuff; they were preaching sermons to every other teenage kid in the suburbs, with some three-chord powerpop backing them up, and it sounded good.

Coming up from the same ranks, North Carolina's Farewell are just as fed up with all this neon-crunk-spunkcore stuff as you and I. So much in fact that they jumped into their Way-Back Machines to capture the same upbeat, whip-smart, tongue-in-cheek sound that Green Day brought to the masses and that blink-182 patented (they even pay tribute to Dookie on the album cover). The band's sophomore effort, Run It Up the Flagpole, ditches the high influence of synthesizer-pop for a more straightforward approach that contains lots of "boys will be boys" mantra and plenty of spastic, smart-ass satire that 2007's Isn't This Supposed to Be Fun?! hinted at, but didn't fully use to its advantage.

From the opening buzz of "We All Fall Down," Farewell lets it be known that this is going to be an old-school lesson, but one that's by-the-numbers; this is something we've seen plenty of times before, but it's been awhile since we saw it with such jubilant enthusiasm. Not since blink-182 took off their pants and *ahem* jacket has a pop-punk band reveled in their own glorious immaturity. "Devoid (That's What I Think About That)" sticks its tongue out at the current scene by criticizing their peers' knack for fashion over substance, and "A Collect Call to Arms" deftly balances the tell-tale qualms of being a high school loser while trying to motivate, not just player-hate. Marshall Davis sounds like a dead ringer for Mark Hoppus, which adds to the nostalgia, and with arena-ready stompers like "Rock on the Radio," Farewell seems to be headed straight to the top of pop-punk's throne in order to ask blink to scoot over.

While the first five tracks stir up a good-sized flurry of fun, "Before I Wake" stalls due to its overuse of the piano-laden ballad formula. When Green Day and blink incorporated a slower tune into the mix, it was able to feel natural and tricked listeners into believing they were still listening to a pop-punk song ("When I Come Around" is a good example). "Before I Wake" is merely jarring due to how manipulated it feels, eventually moving into "Catch-As-Catch-Can," which does the whole "mid-tempo pop-punk" thing far better. Another stopgap here is that a few songs feel like knockoffs of classic Green Day ("Drop Dead") or blink material ("Expect the Worst" sounds like an Enema of the State b-side), and while there is no denying who Farewell is influenced by here, it can be a challenge to not want to go back to those old classics. "Take It From Me" feels like it could be a joke, which ties in with the hidden track, but fortunately, it's the final song and is easy to skip over; the track derails every preceding tune due to its reliance on studio tricks, and from what the previous 10 tracks reveal, Farewell doesn't need them.

Lest we forget that this album is hardly a letdown; in fact, it's a joyously goofy romp that speed by on its own desire to kick back and have some fun, like when Warped Tour was celebrating it's fifth anniversary. No song overstays its welcome and everything storms in, quickly makes its presence be known and leaves before the listener can get tired of it all (no song clocks in over 3:30). With blink & Green Day each becoming full-fledged rock bands, All Time Low being MTV's new star attraction and Fall Out Boy focusing more on their pop strengths, Farewell certainly has the moxie to steal their spotlight as the pop-punk scene's new Kings of Smarm'em 'N' Charm'em. Sure, some of the melodies feel awfully familiar, but for those of us who are still suburban folk who miss the days when we used to listen to those aforementioned teenage sermons, 35 minutes of nostalgia is much better than one minute of anything currently topping the charts.

Recommended if You LikeHit the Lights' Skip School Start Fights; blink-182's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket; Green Day's Nimrod; Midtown's Living Well is the Best Revenge; Fall Out Boy's Take This To Your Grave having sex with New Found Glory's Sticks and Stones, and then having sex with all the previously listed albums.
Choice Cuts"A Collect Call to Arms," "We All Fall Down" and "Catch-As-Catch-Can"

Track Listing1. We All Fall Down
2. Devoid (That's What I Think About That)
3. A Collect Call to Arms
4. Rock On the Radio
5. Sucker Bait
6. Before I Wake
7. Catch-As-Catch-Can
8. Priorities Intact
9. Drop Dead
10. Expect the Worst
11. Take It From Me
Band MembersMarshall Davis: lead vocals
Wil Andrews: guitar
Kevin Carter: guitar
Buddy Bell: bass
Jeff Ellis: drums

Online VitalsOfficial Myspace
This review is a user submitted review from smoke4thecaper. You can see all of smoke4thecaper's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 63
02:14 AM on 08/13/09
Registered Member
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So-Crates's Avatar
The RIYL has got me very interested in this!
Edit: Great review, I guess I thought it would get a higher score because of all the hype on here about it, but I'm still very exited for it and definitely lookinng forward to 35 minutes of nostalgia.
02:25 AM on 08/13/09
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permanentdan's Avatar
excited to hear this. i loved their debut so much
02:38 AM on 08/13/09
Drop all your things and go outside
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muttley's Avatar
I was a huge fan of ITSTBF. Hopefully I'll be able to say the same for this album.
02:50 AM on 08/13/09
Broden Terry
I'm glad I built myself an igloo
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Broden Terry's Avatar
Isn't This Supposed To Be Fun!? was so good. I'm expecting good things from this. Excellent review
02:51 AM on 08/13/09
City Love
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Akissforher's Avatar
wow i was fucking pumped to hear this i loved the debut but reading this has made me preverbially jizz in my pants.
03:02 AM on 08/13/09
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smoke4thecaper's Avatar
The RIYL has got me very interested in this!
Edit: Great review, I guess I thought it would get a higher score because of all the hype on here about it, but I'm still very exited for it and definitely lookinng forward to 35 minutes of nostalgia.
It won't be in any top tens, won't win any awards -- it's fun music that you won't hate and makes you happy. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for.
03:03 AM on 08/13/09
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No Avatar Selected
sweet review, loved their last album, so siked for this!
03:30 AM on 08/13/09
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piglet's Avatar
Album rules.
03:54 AM on 08/13/09
Heaven Sent
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ffadam's Avatar
Looking forward to this...What songs on Fun?! would you say hinted at this style Chris?
04:24 AM on 08/13/09
Chemical Love
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Chemical Love's Avatar
When is this released?
04:25 AM on 08/13/09
Registered Goober
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geebee889's Avatar
Awesome review! I'm really looking forward to this album, and I love the RIYL. :)
04:29 AM on 08/13/09
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No Avatar Selected
Love the last line, love the RIYL. I can't wait to get this!
04:30 AM on 08/13/09
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No Avatar Selected
1st September
04:48 AM on 08/13/09
Chemical Love
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Chemical Love's Avatar
Oh nice, only a couple more weeks. Thanks.

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